Alitalia Airline Update Sept-29: Berlusconi prepares Rescue by AirFance & Lufthansa takeover
ROME (AFP) — Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi reiterated Sunday his opposition to foreign investors taking a majority stake in national airline Alitalia, the ANSA news agency reported.
Press reports say Air France-KLM and Lufthansa are preparing takeover bids for the troubled airline. Berlusconi promised during his election campaign to keep Alitalia in Italian hands, opposing in April a takeover bid from the Franco-Dutch company.
"There is a clause (in the contracts) which forbids shareholders from selling a majority stake for at least five years," Berlusconi was quoted as saying by ANSA, referring to Italian consortium CAI's offer of one billion euros (1.45 billion dollars).
Alitalia Airline prepares for bankruptcy, 20 000 jobs lost at European flagship airline ?
Berlusconi unable to save Alitalia from bankruptcy. The old joke about ALITALIA means "Always Late In Takeoff Always Late In Arriving" changes to ground the Italians being the latest victim of the sub-prime credit crisis. El cavaliere Berlusconi without luck.
With a total of 19,000 jobs at Alitalia and thousands of others at Italy's main airports hanging in the balance, Berlusconi, 71, is facing the biggest challenge of his four- month-old government. The prime minister's popularity rose to 60 percent, its highest since the April election, in an IPR Marketing poll published this week, when it seemed the rescue plan would succeed.
Alitalia risks becoming the first major European flagship airline to collapse since Swissair Group and Belgium's Sabena in 2001. The company, which has been losing $3 million a day and may run out of funds by the end of this month, filed for insolvency on Aug. 29 to allow the state-backed rescue to begin.
``We may be on the edge of the abyss,'' Berlusconi said yesterday after news that the investor group, known as CAI, had withdrawn its bid for Alitalia after only three of nine unions accepted the terms of the contract they were offered.